Young mother who aced Algebra part of class graduating tonight from Laconia Academy

LACONIA — Among the students receiving their diplomas during the Laconia Academy graduation ceremony on Friday night will be 19-year-old Victoria Yale, who has been recognized as an outstanding student in the program by both teachers and coordinator Peggy Selig.

Yale began taking classes at night during the fall semester 2014, where she enrolled in the two math classes that she needed to complete her degree requirements. Entering the academy was no easy task for this young woman, however, as two weeks prior to the start of her classes she gave birth to her daughter.

Getting a diploma was not Yale's top priority during her regular high school career, and due to her own personal struggles she dropped out of school by the start of her senior year at Gilford High School, and had intended on taking online classes instead. A few weeks into the classes however, she found that she was not interested in pursing an academic career and stopped working on her online classes. Then Yale found out she was pregnant, and reconsidered going to school, this time in the Laconia School District, as that was where her family now lived.

In an attempt to finish school Yale attended Laconia High School for one semester before permanently discontinuing her traditional education.

Following the birth of her daughter Yale decided that she owed it to her child to get her high school diploma, so she enrolled in Algebra I with Greg Schneburger and, Math Concepts and Algebraic Thinking with Ginnie Bean. The classes fell on Tuesday's and Thursday's each week throughout the fall semester, and Yale completed the course with a perfect attendance, despite having a baby at home.

When asked whether juggling parenting with school was difficult, especially at the beginning of her semester, Yale stated, "It wasn't too bad because I was able to do whatever homework I had while my daughter was napping, and while I was at school she stayed with my mom. I was doing it for her, so it was worth it."

Yale was determined to complete her high school education strong, putting in extra effort in the night school classes in order to complete the course with top marks. Taking time to get extra help in class when needed, Yale worked diligently to understand all concepts and complete all homework that was given each week, therefore finishing both courses with high averages, achieving an A plus in Algebra I.

The night school experience was better than traditional school, according to Yale, as the teachers gave students more individualized time and help, and the students were more accepting of her situation. "My classmates would always joke around asking when I was going to bring my daughter in for a visit. They were always supportive and kind, and never judged that I had a child so early in life."

Another supportive and non-judgmental individual in Yale's life was her former teacher at Gilford High School, Debra Laliberte, whom Yale had become close with prior to leaving high school. Yale had lost contact with Laliberte during her transition to Laconia, and had not shared with her that she was pregnant until after she had given birth. Upon visiting with her daughter this winter, Yale stated that Laliberte was excited and supportive of her decision to go back to school and receive her diploma. "Mrs.Laliberte was a teacher that really tried to make connections with her students and when she did would always be excited and enthusiastic for them, and proud of their accomplishments", says Yale.

Laliberte echoed the same sentiment stating, "I am incredibly proud of Victoria and all that she has accomplished. She is a brilliant student with strong goals, and I am so proud that she followed through to get her diploma. Her dedication to completing school even after having her daughter speaks to her resilience and determination."

Yale will graduate alongside the rest of the Laconia Academy 2015 graduating class tonight at 6 p.m. in the Laconia High School auditorium. "I am excited for graduation even though it is not really my thing, but my family is excited for me so I felt it was important that I attend the ceremony", said Yale.

Following graduation Yale hopes to work and go to school for cosmetology. Although formal education has not been the path that Yale has chosen during her educational journey, she hopes that her daughter will decide to complete public school without any breaks and with money already saved she hopes that college is in her daughters future.

CAPTION — Victoria Yale and her daughter. (Courtesy photo)




LFD supports addict access to Narcan by Rx

LACONIA — Deputy Fire Chief Shawn Riley said yesterday that he applauds Gov. Maggie Hassan for signing HB 271 that will allow Narcan, a common opiate antidote, to be sold by prescription.

Riley said he supports family members of opiate addicts being able to access the drug with the guidance and permission of their family practitioners and this access may help those people get their loved ones into treatment.

He said people who administer Narcan to an overdose victim must remember two things — that the victim will be in immediate withdrawal once the Narcan takes effect and that, when all is said and done, the victim will still be an opiate addict.

Riley said Narcan prescriptions are one more tool in the toolbox used to fight heroin and opiate addiction and he is grateful for all the governor has done for addiction in the state.

What Riley hopes to see is that if people should have to administer Narcan to someone, that they still call 911.

He said the victim should still be seem immediately by a trained EMT or paramedic because sometimes the heroin dose will last longer than the Narcan and the person could still die, that sometimes the heroin is laced with fentanyl and is more powerful than one shot of Narcan, and that there is also the possibility that the victim may have suffered a stroke or be in cardiac arrest — something Narcan won't help.

Riley said there are three ways Narcan can be administered — by nasal inhalation, by muscular injection, and intravenously. AS for what first responders will do, he said it depends on the circumstance and the patient.

He said yesterday that if loved ones get a Narcan prescription from their physician to make sure they are trained in how to use it. He said anyone who gets a prescription and is unsure, can come to the Fire Department and trained personnel will work with them.

CAPTION: Laconia Fire Department Deputy Chief Shawn Riley demonstrates a Narcan inhaler and how it is used. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)

Site for Pumpkin Festival tower moved to west edge of Veterans Square

LACONIA — The city's Special Events Review Committee this week granted a permit to organizers of the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival, which will be held on Saturday, October 24, between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. with the condition that a number of outstanding issues will be addressed when the committee meets again next month.

Karen Gifford, executive director of the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, said yesterday that since Ruth Sterling of Sterling Design and Communications, who managed the event in Keene, is managing the event in Laconia, organizing the event consists primarily of transposing the arrangements applied in Keene to Laconia.

Last month the City Council approved a temporary traffic order that will apply between midnight on Friday and midnight on Saturday. Canal Street, Hanover Street and Veterans Square, together with sections of Main Street and Pleasant Street will be closed to through traffic. In addition, Veterans Square will be closed to eastbound traffic on Friday, the day before the event, when a tower, 35 feet high with capacity for between 900 and 1,000 pumpkins, will be erected. Portions of the municipal parking lots at City Hall, Main Street and Beacon Street West will be used by vendors or for activities.

A loop described by Veterans Square, Pleasant Street and northern stretch of Main Street will define the center of the festival. Pumpkins will be displayed on the tower, which is the centerpiece of the festival, and on racks, three to five feet high, lining all the closed streets and, if necessary the grassed areas downtown, including Rotary Park and Stewart Park.

Sterling touted "pumpkin bowling," in which sugar pumpkins are bowled at regulation ten pins, as a popular attraction for children and suggested a ferris wheel would offer festival goers a unique perspective of the city. Gifford said that the WOW Trail intends to stage a 5K run and cycling event, beginning at 8 a.m. on the morning of the festival.

In 2013, when the festival took place in Keene, the world record was set for the most simultaneously lighted pumpkins at 30,581. Sterling told the committee that the goal of the festival will be to top that record.She explained that the process of lighting the pumpkins will begin around 4 p.m. and all will be lit by 6 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. and counted within just five minutes at 7 p.m.

Gifford said she has approached the Belknap Cunty 4H Club about using the fairgrounds in Belmont, which has space for 1,500 cars, for parking as well as the firms at O'shea Industrial Park. She said that a decision to operate a shuttle from remote parking areas is being considered. Meanwhile, she said the Hobo Railroad intends to ferry people to the festival from Tilton and Weirs Beach.

While the festival will be held downtown, Gifford said that a number of businesses at the Weirs that would otherwise have closed for the season intend to remain open to cater to the anticipated crowds. She said that Half Moon arcades and other attractions will be open and several hotels and motels have already taken reservations for the weekend of the festival The M/S Mt. Washington still be cruising Lake Winnipesaukee.

"It's an opportunity for people to enjoy a weekend around the festival," Gifford said, adding the event has been marketed to some 600,000 by a mailing from the Lakes Region Tourist Association.

Gifford said that it remains to provide the committee with detailed plans of the spaces set aside for vendors in the Main Street and City Hall parking lots, along with the locations of trash receptacles, dumpsters and porta-potties. Planning Director Shanna Saunders expected other issues would arise in the course of organizing the event.

CAPTION: The schematic, which is subject to change, depicts the proposed layout of the Pumpkin Festival. The yellow "Ws" mark welcome centers at the major gateways to the downtown and the green grassed areas where pumpkins will be displayed.